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a blog by Chris Barrow

Why you need editors and reporters in your dental practice

One of the more common mistakes I’m coming across in independent dentistry is the internal or external appointment of a person with the title “marketing manager”, followed by the abandonment and isolation of that person by the rest of the team when it comes to spotting and collecting marketing collateral.

“Now that “Mary” has the marketing job, we can all get on with our daily duties – we no longer have to get involved in all that stuff that takes us out of our comfort zone”.

To quote a client last week (who had been messing my with mnemonic), the MR. CREST section of the morning huddle can fall by the wayside if the team think they are off the hook:

M – membership

R – referral business cards

C – check-in

R – review

E – email address and newsletter subscription

S – selfie

T – testimonial

The marketing manager may be full-time if the practice has turnover over £1m but is frequently multi-tasking in the smaller (and more common) 2-4 chair practice. That split of duties can include front desk, nursing, TCO or clinic management – and the inevitable consequence is that marketing often comes lower down the list of perceived priorities.

So we have the worst of all worlds – the multi-tasking marketer who has limited support.

I’m constantly working with my clients on two objectives:

  1. to raise the priority of (especially) internal marketing and

  2. to enrol the whole team in the process

Neither of these objectives comes easily.

The metaphor I like to use in team meetings is that the marketing manager is the EDITOR of a multi-channel broadcasting station and that the team are the INVESTIGATIVE REPORTERS whose job it is to track down, research and write/photograph the stories – so that they can be passed to the editor for editing(!) and publishing.

Sorry to bleat on about this – but the morning huddle is the focal point for all of this and as we review the day list, we ask:

  1. who is in for the first time today – how are we going to roll out the red carpet and who is going to do it?

  2. who is in for the last time today, at the end of a course of cosmetic treatment, and who is going to handle the End of Treatment (a.k.a. MR. CREST) conversation, where and when?

The investigative reporters work on telephony, at reception, in surgery and in offices – every team member can be vigilant in spotting or hearing a patient mention human interest stories that may make great content with the appropriate consents.

Your team will often split into two camps:

  1. those who will never engage in human interest marketing – they don’t have a Facebook profile, don’t see the point of social media, don’t believe that patients will take part, didn’t come into dentistry to have to do all that stuff (leave them be – I’m no longer bothered with the missionary work);

  2. those who “get it”.

If you have no team members in the second group – you are, at best, doomed to spend money on direct advertising and deal with strangers all day – at worst, you have already missed the marketing boat.

I love to work with the people who “get it” and share with them best practice ideas and winning habits from other successful clients.

However, I’m always on the look out for an abandoned marketing manager (full or part-time) and will frequently ask the Principal to let me loose on a team meeting, so that we can identify those who “get it” and enrol them as reporters.

An editor with no reporters will always struggle to generate content – be warned.

Don’t waste your time and money on an unsupported marketing manager – the editor with no reporters has a thankless task.

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